GeForce And Radeon Take On Linux

Linux Graphics Utilities

There are a handful of utilities for tweaking the parameters of both ATI and Nvidia cards running on Linux platforms. The two tables provided below summarize a handful of these utilities for both vendors. Bear in mind that rovclock and nvclock are both no longer maintained, so your mileage with either will vary according to card and capability set.

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ATI Graphics Utilities
aticonfigTextual configuration panel
RovclockControl frequency rates on Radeon video cards
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Nvidia Graphics Utilities
nvidia-settingsGraphical configuration panel and control center
nvidia-xconfigTextual configuration tool for modifying X11 values
NVClockOverclock Nvidia based video cards under Linux

Final Thoughts

The bottom line is that the top-of-the-line graphics cards from both ATI and Nvidia do work (and work well) with Linux. While Nvidia currently exposes more of its underlying card capabilities under Linux than does ATI, the latter has made significant strides. Beyond simply getting its X1000-series and other recent graphics card families to work in Linux environments, ATI is still negotiating with top-tier Linux distributions to incorporate its proprietary drivers into mainstream products. At the same time, the Linux gaming community is getting a major boost from continued support and development efforts from both parties. Mere months ago, much of this capability was nonexistent.

Using only default settings, ATI's visual clarity and color richness is superior to default Nvidia settings. However, the Nvidia settings utility enables a variety of options for configuring general OpenGL library performance, and the many fine-grained antialiasing and anisotropic properties of the underlying graphics card. Either way, both cards exhibit excellent responsiveness under normal gameplay and during the UMark bench testing. A brief sampling of street prices puts a GeForce 7800 GTX at about $100 less than a Radeon X1900 XTX.

For Linux gaming enthusiasts everywhere, the message is clear: your prayers have been answered.

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Ed Tittel

Ed Tittel is a long-time IT writer, researcher and consultant, and occasional contributor to Tom’s Hardware. A Windows Insider MVP since 2018, he likes to cover OS-related driver, troubleshooting, and security topics.